by Maria Ede-Weaving
The Winter Solstice is once more upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere and we ponder on how in the darkest of times, the spark of light burns brightly still; nature reminding us that hope and renewal are always a possibility, no matter how harsh the winter, or how testing our life’s challenges might be.
Of course, for those in the Southern Hemisphere it is the height of summer. The thought that at our coldest, darkest point, somewhere in the world is at its lightest and warmest, feels very apt. For isn’t this just how life is for us all? The wheel of the seasons continually turns, just as the wheel of our own lives revolves; never allowing us to stand still for too long, bringing us experiences that contrast and contradict. It illustrates both the comforting and unnerving reality that everything passes and nothing stays the same.
In a roomful of strangers we would discover a whole gamut of human emotion and experience in process: some would be going through periods of sadness and loss; others, happiness and growth. For others still, we would find all manner of situations and emotions being played out between the polar points of contraction and expansion; the pendulum that swings between these furthest points is the mechanism that fuels and perpetuates life.
I find it comforting that even when I am experiencing loss, somewhere, probably very close to me, someone is experiencing the joy of gain. This tells me that there will be a time, once more, when the hurt will heal. Likewise, when others are grieving and I am experiencing great happiness, I am reminded to never take such blessings for granted, to make the most of – and give thanks for – those blissful moments. Paradoxically, we can encounter both sad and joyful circumstance in life –we all know that feeling when one aspect of our life is flourishing whilst another is in decline, for instance our relationship might be going from strength to strength as our career goes through the doldrums. Life is filled with contrast and we learn to balance, contain and hold this paradox, feeling the cycles move through our lives in a series of undulating waves.
So at this time of both greatest darkness and greatest light, let us honour the blessing of movement and change; let’s choose not to be afraid of the gifts and challenges that accompany these but embrace them, opening to where it is we find ourselves on the wheel with good grace. Let us also recognise with gratitude, just how much we all help and educate each other by the example of our own unique experiences. As personal to us as these events might feel – at their core – they are actually shared by us all, eventually. The wisdom that we gain as people by this sharing, is passed on to others and down through generations in a never ending thread; it is the perpetual unfolding of the human story.
There is nothing new under the Solstice Sun! Life moves through us and we are an expression of its unfathomable and magical nature. On this most special, hopeful day, such a thought is worth celebrating!